Naismith Award Watch List long on candidates, but short on star power
The request for my Naismith Award Preseason Watch List came in at 4:08 p.m. Tuesday, give or take 20 minutes after news spread that Baylor's
How does that relate to the awards watch? Well, there appears to be a paucity of star power in the 2010-11 season, and Dunn is one of the few electrifying scorers -- a lock for any player-of-the year short list. Now he'll have to appear with an ugly asterisk. He has yet to defend or explain himself, but my enthusiasm for watching him has diminished.
In an attempt to be as transparent as possible with the building of the
My preferred method is to build pools of players, starting with the "Untouchables," a group of All-America-candidate upperclassmen that have to be included in the final 50.
And thus the first 10 spots are taken, although Dunn, as previously mentioned, is asterisked due to a possible suspension.
I've listed the above names in a Player-of-the-Year pecking order; although Duke's
The next pool is purely speculative: the small group of freshmen whom I believe are also All-America candidates, and therefore must make the watch list.
That brings my list to 14. North Carolina's
The third pool is also somewhat speculative: the elite group of sophomores who stayed out of the draft and could blossom into major college stars.
They bring my list to 19. I'm especially interested in Arizona's
The fourth pool is a select group of elite players from outside the BCS conferences, Atlantic 10, Mountain West and Conference USA. It's important to diversify the list with mid-major talents who don't get enough national attention, and these four are worthy:
They expand my list to 23.
That leaves us with 27 more spots, a number of which need to go to my second tier of the "Establishment" -- high-quality, major-conference upperclassmen.
The 12 players above all have some star power and are capable of putting up numbers at a similar level their peers in Pool 1. They're necessary inclusions. Virginia Tech's
They bring our list to 35, meaning only 15 spots remain. The problem is that I have a massive pool of candidates -- 65 in all -- for those final positions. Here's who's under consideration:
How does one go about narrowing down this list? I'll start with the freshmen, including the only two that I feel have a chance to make a Naismith-level impact:
The list is now at 37, although Selby needs to be asterisked because he, like Kanter, has yet to be deemed eligible. I think he has a much better shot than Kanter at gaining eligibility, but we're still awaiting word from the NCAA.
Moving on to the upperclassmen, I feel that a talent line can be drawn after the first nine on the "also under consideration list," so I'll include them as well:
That brings the list to 46. Four spots remain, but I also need three more provisional picks in case Dunn, Kanter and Selby don't play.
The two players on the transfer/ineligible list from last season aren't going to make the cut. I love
Past statistics don't necessarily support West Virginia's
That brings us to the final list of 53, which was e-mailed to the Naismith folks on Thursday morning, and will be a part of the group voting results released in late October or early November:
(The three players with asterisks are potentially ineligible; their fill-ins are marked with ^s)